The WMEA Wisconsin Music Standards are adapted from the 2014 National Core Arts Standards in Music. These 2014 Music Standards are written in the context of Artistic Processes (with process components), Enduring Understandings, and Essential Questions. The standards emphasize conceptual understanding in areas that reflect the processes in which musicians engage. The standards cultivate a student’s ability to carry out four Artistic Processes*:
In Wisconsin we have added additional emphasis on the fourth process of Connecting. There are numerous connections and commonalities that exist among the arts, other disciplines, and issues within our global society. Relating music to the other arts as well as disciplines outside the arts enhances student understanding in each discipline. Building connections gives students the chance to understand culture as a whole and the relationships between its parts.
The acceptance of the growing diversity of our culture and mutual understanding can often be accomplished through music. Music reflects significant historical events and cultural relationships. By relating music to personal history and culture, as well as the history and culture of others, students will understand and connect historical events of the world, along with function of music within various cultures.
In changing this artistic process in the 2017 WMEA WI Music Standards, we acknowledge the embedded connections within the artistic processes and bolster the connecting standard. It appears to have less verbiage as we have left the connecting aspects inside creating, responding, performing, and connecting. The WMEA Wisconsin Music Standards focus on the personal and global connecting, providing a more broad based approach in the Connecting standard description.
Additional changes and updates for Wisconsin:
- The Wisconsin Standards also include standards for 9-12 Secondary General Music.
- We are also interested in connecting the 2017 WMEA Wisconsin Music Standards back to the 1997 Wisconsin Academic Standards in Music.
- The Wisconsin Model for Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP), a 40 year old project, also figures prominently into the updating of the 2017 Wisconsin Music Standards.
- WI focus on Music Technology as an artistic expression not skill development.
The concepts of music literacy and affective education are also included under the Connecting Standards.
WMEA Wisconsin Music Standards Explained
Wisconsin Standards Overview #1 – Organization
Wisconsin Standards Overview #2 – Modifications
September 2017 WSM article: Budde, P. 2017 2017 WMEA Wisconsin Music Standards
“Two hundred years ago the goals in education were quite different from the present. Acquiring basic skills in numeracy and literacy was the primary objective. The teacher transmitted knowledge by lecture, drill, and rote learning, with students responding with on-demand recitations and tests. Later, with the advent of industrialization, the efficiency of the factory was introduced to the classroom. Much like an assembly line, teachers applied knowledge to the students as they moved through each grade, and periodically teachers would perform an educational triage—some were sent on, some held for further work, and others allowed to drop out. Education was a teacher-dominated activity, with students the passive recipients and the teacher the judge.
Educational objectives and outcomes have undergone a marked change since that time. The curriculum has been broadened and deepened. In addition to the earlier basics, it includes not only other subjects, but also more expansive goals—higher order thinking skills, a disposition to learn, critical and creative thinking, self-directed learning, and a high level of achievement for all students. Besides this, research shows that instead of students acquiring knowledge by direct transmission, students construct knowledge by manipulating, analyzing, organizing, and applying the facts or the conceptual or principal constituent bits of data. This research has given rise to constructivism, an instruction approach in which students form understands by interacting directly with the entity being studied..
Despite this change, much instructional practice and some current instructional models are remarkably similar to their 200-year-old ancestor, with the work of the classroom often regarded by students as the teacher’s agenda, with the grade the major reason for student investment in class work, and with direct instruction the dominant teaching mode. Other factors still present are the rewards and sanctions of the earlier system.
There is a basic aspect of human nature that is most important to nurture in students—the desire to learn. This is a survival instinct hard-wired into our brains, and the effect real change education must enliven and nourish this drive. Two other such instincts that can enhance that drive are the desire of students to grow up fast and to have more control of their lives. While these can be frustrating to teachers and parents who must deal with the “Why” questions of the early years and the drive for independence of adolescence, they can be important sources of intrinsic motivation.”
From the 2009 Planning Curriculum in Music Guide…Mel Pontious; DPI and committee
With these words, the 2009 Planning Curriculum for Music begins and explained the changes in Wisconsin education and the need to address these changes that led to the development of the 1997 Wisconsin Standards in Music Education (adopted from the 1994 National Music Standards). In 2014, the National Core Arts Standards were published, taking teachers and their students even farther in the direction of student-centered practice and music as part of a well-rounded education. In Wisconsin, this means an even stronger nod to the principles started by the Arts Propel Project and the Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) Project before 1970. While some have pushed toward a return to the industrial model in American education in the past 10 years through a greater emphasis on math and reading (literacy), other discussion in the schools, the research, legislation and classrooms across the nation have continued to expand the concepts of student ownership, well rounded curricular approaches and the importance of 21st century skills.
What does this mean for music educators and decision makers in Wisconsin schools?
It means a return to discussion about the importance of performing, creating, responding and connecting through a rich curriculum in music. This curriculum must be based on knowledge about how students think, what they need to learn and a careful consideration of how to provide a learning experience in all four areas for every student, whether they are enrolled in a general music or ensemble class.
While there are aspects of literacy training that are inherent in the study of music, these ideas do not work in isolation. Much of the intent in the 1997 Wisconsin Academic Standards in Music included helping teachers to look at the connectivity of concepts in music with other arts and disciplines, as well as setting up skill and knowledge related expectations for their students. These standards also stretched our idea of what a music classroom could look like. The intent was to help students become independent musicians, to guide their teachers in the broadest possible look at curriculum and to continue to put music education at the center of a school focus on academic study.
And now we move on. By giving teachers the freedom to embed these standards that have been used successfully over 20 years, the 2017 WMEA Wisconsin Music Standards now ask the educator to consider important questions, develop richer curriculum and, in reality, hand the learning of this important subject matter over in a more collaborative, rich and organic environment for our future musicians. How does music learning connect them to rest of their lives in a world that is changing so quickly that rigid and limiting considerations can no longer be useful?
Over three years ago, members of leadership in WMEA began discussing how our organization might be involved in the updating of state standards when we were informed that this might be happening soon at the state level. Membership on a working committee was sought and a group of teachers with diverse backgrounds and experiences was formed. Over the course of the first two and a half years, feedback was shared with the Department of Public Instruction, WMEA membership and the CMP Committee. The 2014 National Core Arts Standards in Music served as our fundamental resource and we also perused work from other states. In the summer of 2016, our work was presented at the CMP Workshop. In October, 2016 we presented a session of draft work attended by over 80 Wisconsin teachers and representatives from NAfME. Finally, in January of 2017, a review was held for volunteers and invitees who worked in large and small groups to evaluate the progress to that point. In all cases the reaction was positive and suggestions for minor changes and inclusions have been followed. WMEA leadership will plan to keep the materials open and flexible for future discussion and implementation. Beginning in the summer of 2017, the WMEA Wisconsin Music Standards, as an adaptation of the 2014 National Core Arts Standards in Music, will be ready for consideration and use by Wisconsin music educators, their students and school administrators and school boards.
The members of the WMEA working group and WMEA leadership hope that music educators in our state and beyond will see this as a living and breathing document that can shift and develop with the needs of Wisconsin students and their classrooms.